Sundance Institute Honors Lulu Wang with Vanguard Award at LA Premiere of ‘The Farewell’

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Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin, Lulu Wang, and Aoi Mizuhara at the LA premiere of 'The Farewell.' © 2019 Shannon Segura for Sundance Institute

The Theatre at Ace Hotel was buzzing last night as the independent film community came together to celebrate breakout writer/director Lulu Wang at Sundance Institute's LA premiere screening of The Farewell hosted by Acura.

Sundance Film Festival Programming Director Kim Yutani; writer/director Lulu Wang; and actors Diana Lin, Aoi Mizuhara, and Tzi Ma at The Theatre at Ace Hotel. © 2019 Aaron Farley for Sundance Institute

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Wang was honored with the Sundance Institute Vanguard Award presented by Acura, which showcases artists whose work and vision represent the highest level of breakthrough innovation, originality, and independent spirit. The night included many special guests, including Awkwafina, who was on hand to open the event with her sharpshooting comedy and easygoing vibe, and Minding the Gap director Bing Liu, who presented Wang with the award.

Sure to remain an unforgettable family dramatic comedy in the Sundance library for years to come, The Farewell is described as a true story “based on an actual lie." It's also a personal film for Wang, who explained that the story's premise centers around real events from her life as an Asian American woman dealing with cultural differences within her family. She confessed during the Q&A that her grandmother, who The Farewell is based on, still doesn't know that the film is about her—a revelation that contributed to the night's biggest laugh. Wang’s commitment to authenticity and her courage to share her story with the world are what make her not only the perfect recipient for this award but also a trailblazer for future filmmakers.

Writer/director Lulu Wang received the Sundance Institute Vanguard Award presented by Acura at the LA premiere of 'The Farewell.' © 2019 Shannon Segura for Sundance Institute

It’s events like this and the generosity of our community that allow Sundance Institute to raise money to fund future grants, mentorships, and critical resources to help nurture and support the next generation of artists. Community involvement and contributions sustain our ability to champion unique storytellers like Wang. If you would like to get involved, please visit sundance.org/support.

Check out our community resource guide to learn more about local resources for Asian American, Pacific Islander, and female and nonbinary artists.

Lead photo:

Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin, Lulu Wang, and Aoi Mizuhara at the LA premiere of 'The Farewell.' © 2019 Shannon Segura for Sundance Institute